Monday, October 19, 2015

Full Contact [2015]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing listing (R. Bell) review
The Hollywood Reporter (R. Ford) review
Variety (P. DeBruge) review

Full Contact [2015] [IMDb] [CEu] (written and directed by David Verbeek [IMDb] [CEu] is a very near future arguably SET IN THE PRESENT DAY sci-fi / cyberpunk-ish Dutch / Croatian film which played recently at the 2015 (51st Annual) Chicago International Film Festival.

The film's about a combat drone pilot (played by Grégoire Colin [IMDb] [CEu]) who begins the story flying said combat drones presumably over the Middle East for presumably the U.S. military out of a trailer at a base presumably outside of Las Vegas in Nevada.

All the "presumably-s" above are part of the point.  NOTHING is particular clear, and he doesn't really talk much.  When not blowing-up people thousands of miles away by remote control, he spends his time blowing-off steam hitting-on hookers at strip clubs. But it's clearly "just a past time."  When one of said strippers lets him take her home with him, (home being another another tin trailer), he tells her that he's impotent and they spend the night snuggling.  Not _that_ actually could be attractive to a rather sexed-out stripper/hooker.  So when she actually takes a liking to him, she's quickly disappointed as he continues to visit her in her place of employment.  She'd want "something more," he's just interested in something "just (if barely) unreachable" / "over the horizon."

Well things "at work" suddenly "hit the fan."  Our combat drone pilot, Lt. Ivan Delphine -- a rather odd name for an American ..., 'cept it turns out that he's NOT an American but French.  What's he doing flying combat drones for (presumably) the U.S. military out of a bunker outside of Las Vegas?  Well, he's seems to be some sort of a "military contractor" perhaps "modern day French Foreign Legion" type -- bombs on command what he's told is a "terrorist training camp" BUT it ends up being a school.

That DOES actually shake him up, and he "leaves his job" and goes to (though the film was filmed along the Adriatic coast in Croatia) what would presumably be Lake Mead (a giant reservoir sitting out in the desert outside of Las Vegas  which made out the northern portion of the Grand Canyon by the Hoover/Boulder Dam) where between drunkenness and simply "the heat of the sun" he begins to hallucinate and imagines himself SHOOTING with an assault rifle the Middle Eastern young people he killed in video game fashion with his drone from thousands of miles away.  At this point, we hear a voiceover declare "partial contact."

Recovering from his drunken stupor, Ivan returns back to France, gets a job with "Baggage Security" at an airport there AND ... decides to take-up "kickboxing."   Why kickboxing?  Presumably he no longer wants to fight "from a distance" but "mano a mano" / "up close and personal."

During his time working at the airport, he gets to know / flirt with another "baggage handler" (could be symbolic...) named Cindy (played by Lizzie Brocheré [IMDb] [CEu]).  At one point to "impress" Cindy and obviously against the rules, he forces open one of the suitcases that he and Cindy were handing in their baggage handling area and tries to"profile" the person to whom that suitcase belonged.  She giggles and tells him that he's almost certainly wrong.  Feeling challenged, he tells her "okay, I'll profile you" and proceeds to "profile her" based on her appearance and what (little!) he knew of her.  He _wasn't_ completely off, _but_ not particularly close either.  When he runs into her one day outside of work, and realize how "off" he was about some aspects of her, he apologizes to her.

Finally, after many weeks of training, he finally gets his chance to "kickbox" against "a Middle Eastern type" in MMA ring.  And we hear a voiceover declare "full contact" ...

Sigh ... IMHO a quite fascinating film (but one that will almost certainly never make it past the festival circuit -- and I find that a shame).  Still ... okay, Ivan "grew" ... but is it _really_ a lot of growth when all that Ivan appeared to achieve was learn to fight "mano a mano" rather than blow people up with a drone by remote control ...?  More interesting would be if something did come of his interactions with Cindy ...

Clearly a quite thought provoking film in any case about the increasing "detachment" that we face in contemporary society, a detachment entering into both "love" and "war"  Not a bad festival film!

* Reasonably good (sense) translations of non-English webpages can be found by viewing them through Google's Chrome browser. 

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